In response to the economic impact of COVID-19, the Australian Government has announced several initiatives to help individuals and businesses. Our Financial Planning partner - Bridges - pulls these apart and explains what this might mean for you. Bridges can help with advice covering investments, taxation, superannuation, retirement planning and other strategic financial services. Find out more below or contact us to make an appointment.
What is Financial Planning
Financial planning is designed to help you plan for your future – from a financial perspective – by providing advice on investment strategies. Financial planners take into consideration your personal circumstances and can tailor their advice specifically for you. Some of the scenarios they can help you with include:
- Managing investments tax effectively
- Saving for a home
- Planning for the costs of marriage and the benefits of combined income and savings
- Structuring your assets in the most effective way if you are self employed
- Planning for the birth of children and the loss of a regular salary whilst on maternity leave
- Making the most of your superannuation
- Planning your finances following a redundancy or when changing jobs
- Making the most of a financial windfall, such as an inheritance or a maturing term deposit
- Maximising your eligibility for government benefits
- Planning the retirement lifestyle you want
Bridges Retirement Lab
With the cost of living going up each year, it’s hard to imagine how much you’ll need for your retirement. Latest figures suggest that if you’re aiming for a comfortable lifestyle in retirement you’ll want to save about $510,000 for a couple or $430,000 for a single person1. To find out what you could afford when you retire, enter the Bridges Retirement Lab at bridges.com.au/retirementlab, see how you measure up and whether you’re on track to live the retirement you want.
The Bridges Retirement Lab is an online tool that lets you picture your lifestyle in retirement and select the level of comfort you envisage for your home, food, leisure, transport and health care. You’ll see if your savings, super and investment strategy measure up to meet the retirement lifestyle you want, view and download your results; and see how financial advice could help you achieve your retirement goals.
How it Works
Step 1 – Picture your lifestyle
Select the level of comfort you want for your home, food, leisure, transport and health care.
This step explains the different comfort levels and their associated goods or services. For instance, do you want to enjoy regular holidays? Do you want to update the kitchen or bathroom or your entire house? Eat out or entertain family and friends at home? How about private health insurance and maintaining a car?
Based on your selections, you’ll be placed on a lifestyle scale from low (modest) to high (comfortable plus)
Step 2 – Test how you measure up
See if your savings, super and investment strategy measure up to meet the retirement lifestyle you want. Roll up your sleeves, test out different scenarios and make the Bridges Retirement Lab work for you.
Step 3 – View and download your results
This steps allows you to view and download your personalised results including tips on how you could increase your retirement savings and how a financial planner could help.
To discuss and understand in more depth what the results of the Bridges Retirement Lab mean for you, make an appointment with a Bridges financial planner.
Boost Your Super and Save Tax
Do you want to increase the value of your total pay packet, reduce your income tax, boost your super savings and take advantage of other tax-effective benefits? Well, with a salary sacrifice strategy maybe you can.
More and more employers are now allowing their staff to take their remuneration as a package of cash and certain other employee benefits that are concessionally taxed, such as superannuation contributions. This is called salary packaging or salary sacrifice because you are sacrificing (doing without) a proportion of your take-home salary in order to gain a greater benefit. You may be able to reduce your tax and/or gain valuable benefits.
A Bridges financial planner can help you understand which benefits provide a tax advantage and which do not, and how your total income and marginal tax rate will affect your package. They could also provide advice about packaging your salary to make it go further.
If you’re thinking about early access to your Super due to COVID-19 hardship, Bridges have a helpful infographic to explain the process and considerations.
Do You Know How Many Super Funds you Have?
It’s important to keep track of your super, after all, it’s your money for your retirement, but if you don’t know where your super is, you’re not alone. In fact, the Australian Taxation Office estimates lost super to be worth around $16.9 billion.2
By tracking down and consolidating your super accounts, you can save on multiple sets of administration fees. Over the years, this could add up to thousands of dollars. However, before you go ahead and consolidate your super consider the following:
- Do your super funds include life insurance, income protection insurance or other personal insurance
- Is it a good time to ‘sell down’ your investments within your super fund
- How the fees and charges compare in all your super funds
A Bridges financial planner is not limited to any one superannuation provider and can provide you with advice on a range of superannuation funds. They can help you determine the most cost effective and appropriate fund for your specific needs.
Bridges Financial Planning Videos
- How a financial planner can help
- Investment fundamentals
- The importance of protecting your assets
- Getting to know your super
- How much super is enough?
- Making contributions
- Salary sacrifice explained
- Self-managed super funds
- Retirement income funds
- Transition to retirement
- What happens to your super when you die
- Protecting your wealth (estate planning)
The Little Details
Bridges Financial Services Pty Limited (Bridges). ABN 60 003 474 977. ASX participant. AFSL No 240837. This is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation and needs. Before making an investment decision based on this information, you should assess your own circumstances or consult a financial planner. In referring customers to Bridges, Southern Cross Credit Union Ltd does not accept liability or responsibility of any act or omission or advice provided by Bridges or its authorised representatives. Part of the IOOF group.
1 Source: ASFA retirement standard December quarter 2014. Assumes receipt of part age pension.
2 Source ATO 2012-13